Banaskantha district is one of the poorest, drought-prone desert of north-west Gujarat. The village women of this district have formed 62 DWCRA groups, 160 savings and credit groups and 8 watershed development collectives.
The association itself was formed in 1992, in response to the fact that individual DWCRA (producers) groups were too isolated and vulnerable to reach markets easily and to obtain the raw materials and credit they required on their own. SEWA has undertaken the task of promoting new groups, helping them to build their capacities and link with government. However, it was felt that there should be a self-managed organisation to undertake all these functions to act as promoter, supporter and advocate for the DWCRA groups.
Through the efforts of this association and with SEWA’s support, several economic activities have been undertaken.
These are based on local resources and women’s own traditional skills and their leadership. As a result, eighty percent of the families who once migrated from this area in search of work and income security no longer do so. In 1996, rural women mangers took over the running of their own association.